I went to college at UW-La Crosse, and thus spent a total of 4 years living in La Crosse, WI. I loved living in this city and I feel nostalgic every time I visit—which is often. Below is a list of some of my favorite things to do whenever I’m back in town.
- Hike the Bluffs
My number one favorite thing to do in Lax! Such a great way to enjoy nature, catch a beautiful view of the city, and get some exercise! The end is always rewarding and makes for some awesome photos. There’s quite a few different trails with varying difficulty levels, so make sure you do your research ahead of time!
- The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor
Homemade ice cream, waffle cones, and handmade candies with a 1930’s theme! So yummy, definitely worth the long lines in the summer. The river is just a short walk away, and a great place to enjoy your sweet treat.
- Drinks at the Starlite Lounge
This second-floor lounge is right above Buzzard Billy’s downtown. They specialize in classic cocktails (I recommend the Key Lime Pie Martini), and offer pretty good deals during the week (Tuesday-Friday $3 off martinis and 1/2 price appetizers). A great place to relax and catch up with a friend or have a few cocktails before dinner at Buzzard Billy’s.
- Howie’s for dinner and drinks (and sometimes bingo, trivia or coloring)
Every time my Lax Ladies and I reunite, we always schedule in a dinner and drinks at Howie’s on La Crosse. This sports bar has the best pepperjack cheese bites, an amazing bloody bar on Sundays, great food, and plenty of drinks to choose from. I recommend the La Crosse Street Lemonade (so good, but also potent). Howie’s also has food specials Monday through Friday, as well as bingo on Tuesdays, adult coloring contests on Wednesdays, and trivia on Thursdays.
- Tour Pearl Street Brewery
(No affiliation with the Pearl Ice Cream Parlor—or the Orange Pearl, high-end hair salon that I highly recommend.) For $8 you get a tour of the brewery, one free fill, and you get to take the pint glass home with you! I’ve taken the tour twice and it was fun and interesting both times. They have a fun, friendly staff who know their beer. My favorite is the el Hefe, but they are most famous for their Downtown Brown Ale.
- Enjoy some coffee at Grounded.
I discovered this coffee shop soon after I began working in downtown La Crosse, and it has since risen to my favorite coffee place. The coffee is great, and they also have a breakfast menu, salads, wraps, beer on tap, and wine. Their exposed brick walls usually feature a local artist.
- Visit the Rotary Lights
If you’re in La Crosse during the holiday season, this is a must-see. It is an amazing outdoor light display downtown in Riverside Park. Admission is free but visitors are encouraged to donate cash or non-perishable food items. There are a few heated tents and places to buy hot beverages, but make sure you dress warm!
- Go out on Third Street
If you’re looking for a night out in La Crosse, you will likely be spending most of your time on Third Street. Whether you stop at Broncos for some country, Shooters for some 90’s and dancing, Who’s on Third for a fishbowl, or The Library—you’re bound to have a good time. Don’t forget to stop at Politos on your way home for some pizza to soak up all those drinks;)
Must I state the obvious? Get your themed T-shirt, your Oktoberfest button, check out the parade and the golden keg tapping, and be safe!